Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Working Mums of the UK

Well this could be a hot potato if ever I wrote one. A man writing about working mums. Well bring it on I say and tell me what you think. I am just here to raise an issue which was raised on breakfast TV this morning. Have to say the two parents represented appeared to me to be both middle class and intellectually very bright and well educated. Not necessarily the people I would ask about the issues of working mums. Possibly not that representative of the vast majority of parents who are on low incomes and pay more an hour for childcare than they receive themselves. But that’s just me.

Do working mums get a good or fair deal from their employers? Do childless women or men have to work more hours to subsidise working mums? Is it really that easy for working mums to balance the books with childcare? Is it worth single working mums to actually to go work in the first place as childcare costs mount up?

To be honest I am not going to answer any of these questions. The reason for that is not because I am a man. After all I have a right to my opinion and can make a reasonable well thought out argument regarding any topic if I have researched it or have personal experiences which I can reflect on. I had a mum who worked. I have friends who are mums who work. I have worked with many mums who work. What I want to do is just continue the debate, as I can obviously see there is one to be had.

For me there are so many variables and circumstances to this that it cannot be so easy to say one way or the other. There are for instance a multitude of ways that business owners or employers consider this personnel issue. Because for them, that is exactly what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. Except they may feel a moral responsibility to support individuals who maybe, like themselves, have children.

It can of course be the other way round and the employee feels that the employer, as a parent themselves, will be somehow more in their favour when it comes to taking leave for a sick child or taking calls from their children’s school during the working week. I have seen it from both sides. Employers who damn the parents for wanting to do the best for their children or employees who damn employers because they have expectations of what the employer should be offering.
Surely in this day and age of equality, duty of care, accountable management, being a responsible employer (or employee), good working practice, improving moral standards, good working conditions etc. etc. You see where I am going with this.

At the end of the day if we just consider this as a personnel issue and don’t get caught up with the emotional stuff, which both sides sometimes want to drag into the discussion, it would be a lot easier for everyone to come to an agreeable conclusion. I for one, don’t want to see employees be penalised or marginalised because they have children. I don’t want to see employers or business owners under unnecessary pressure when they are balancing up the needs of their business and the productivity levels of their staff.

At Bath Business Web Ltd we do have working mums and dads. They would be the first to agree that there have been challenges because of the commitments and needs of both parties. BBW Ltd strives to move forward, learn, develop and grow from these experiences.

Ultimately businesses are there to make money. They are there to generate a sustainable and seemly profit. In doing so they also have a duty to their employees to treat them in accordance with current law, legislation or generally agreed moral or ethical practice. They are not there to meet the personal needs or requirements of each individual employee. However, knowing these needs or requirements and working together with their employees, even in a small way, will always be the most beneficial and satisfactory way forward for all.

So many people have so much to say on this emotionally charged topic. There are at least, a number of places for parents when seeking help, advice or information.

We need to continue the debate because it is not going away. We need parents to nurture and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs or employees. We need to support working parents and fly the flag for all those who want to contribute to the workplace as well as raise a family.  We need not cave in to the emotional or unrealistic expectations of certain individuals who just go out to create confusion or a selfish viewpoint.

We need to get realistic and up-to-date in our thinking when it comes to working parents, whether we are the employer, the parent or government politicians.

It would be great to hear what you have to say regarding working parents. Whether you are a parent or an employer. How do you think the UK deals with mums and dads in the workplace?

Blogger for Bath Business Web Ltd

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